Drinking more than five cups of coffee leads to brain decline, dementia - study

If you've already downed your first flat white of the day and you're considering your second, this might encourage you to switch to herbal tea. 

In the largest study of its kind, Australian researchers have found that high coffee consumption is associated with smaller total brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia.

But when we say high, we mean high. Drinking six or more cups a day was linked with a 53 percent increased risk of dementia and an increased likelihood of stroke, according to scientists. 

Over 17,000 participants aged between 37 and 73 took part in the study, which was conducted at UniSA's Australian Centre for Precision Health at SAHMRI. 

Lead researcher and UniSA PhD candidate Kitty Pham says the research delivers important insights into the dangers of overconsumption. 

"Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it's critical that we understand any potential health implications," Pham says.

"This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke - it's also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors."

So if you're maxing out at two coffees a day you're probably okay, but if you're sipping it all day, perhaps it's time to switch to water instead.